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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering if you guys think it's beneficial to run a dog at the draws or more of a hassle than its worth? I can see the benefit in the corn, but in the marsh it seems like it would be virtually impossible for the dog to mark anything( it's hard enough for me to mark where the birds go down). We like to sit back in the tall reeds a bit and it seems like the dog wouldn't be able to see much of anything.

I have a dog stand, but I hate to put her in front and shoot over her(she is fairly steady but being her first season I don't trust it 100%). Also a buddies dad who lives by harsens island said the phragmites really tears them up and it's so thick and hard to mark he doesn't even take his dog to the marsh zones?

Just curious as to your guy's thoughts on this before I head out there. I'm really torn between it being a hassle or being worth it if we don't draw a corn zone.
 

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It all depends what your asking the dog to do. If you have a hunting dog and you expect him to pick up ducks in corn or the marsh and he can handle then go at it his nose is better than your eyes. If you have a H.T. / Trial dog I expect him to sit quietly on stand or boat until I send him. A lesson on steadiness. We will some times take 2 Trial dogs and alternate retrieves. To us it is not just about the Ducks but also working our dogs. Don't get me wrong I love to shoot ducks but it is also about our dogs and being out doors. So far it has been a good season and on task for a 100 duck season. Not bad for an old timer that plays the H.I. bingo.
 

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To me I wish we had a couple more dog zones at the island . When I hunted the other day my dog had a one man limit of birds before shooting time came .their are so many birds that get lost from guys not using dogs . But I love just watching the dog work if I am hunting with full group I dont even need to pull the trigger to have a good hunt.

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If you ever drop a bird into phragmites or have a wounded bird swim into them for cover, a dog with a good nose is about the only way you are finding that bird.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yea I hear what you guys are saying. I enjoy watching the pup work more than shooting myself. She is still young (year and a half), but has been doing well. Shot around 170 birds over her in nodak a couple weeks ago. Her handling is okay, but she is not a professionally trained dog either. I was just curious as to what some of you do because I know some of the marsh zones I have hunted are thick with bad visibility for a dog.it seems like it would be hard to handle a dog when you can't even see it.
 

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A dog is 100% mandatory (IMO) in the marsh. It's IMPOSSIBLE to find birds in the reeds without one.

If the true concern was recovering cripples and downed birds, dogs would be mandatory in all marsh zones at Harsen's. For real.
Why they have a few dog zones (like 73), but not have dogs mandatory everywhere int hose marshes (as all the zones have the same dense cover) is beyond me...

I hunt the marshes there a ton, and I'd estimate 90% of the birds we shoot would be nearly unrecoverable without a dog.
It's definitely beneficial to have one with a good nose, and trained to work with you to limit the possibility of the dog just going forever.

I have personally recovered two dogs on separate occasions that were lost out there when they wouldn't come in once on a scent.
One spent the night.
 

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A dog can't handle when he can't see you. My partner and I have a couple of All-Age dogs with thousands of blinds and marks over the last few years. The both are exceptional handling dogs. All we can do is put them in an area of the fall and hope for the best. We have hunted the marsh and have also lost ducks even with the dogs. We try to drop the ducks in open water but as we all know there are no guarantees. We train our dogs year round they are not sent out to a pro. I do understand the guys that do. They just don't have the time. Best of luck!!! Oh yea try joining a retriever club in your area there are plenty of guys that will help a guy with a young dog. PM me if you need a name of clubs.
 

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Its not so much of the dog truly "handling" as it is of having that nose. Just getting the dog in the general area gives you a thousand times better chance of finding the bird.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Okay thanks guys looks like she will be going with me next time. I was just always curious what other people thought as I generally don't see that many dogs there.
 

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won't hunt without a dog.
X2....She's not there ? I'm not there.......
Training lesson ?......Faced the dog in one direction, have a buddy throw from behind to left then to right of dog so all she heard was the splash.
Then give her a line and let her go. It helps......
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
X2....She's not there ? I'm not there.......
Training lesson ?......Faced the dog in one direction, have a buddy throw from behind to left then to right of dog so all she heard was the splash.
Then give her a line and let her go. It helps......
I like this idea and never thought of it. I'll have to give it a try this week.
 
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